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Bourbon Cask Aged Black Watch Cream Porter | Portland Brewing Company

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Bourbon Cask  Aged Black Watch Cream PorterBourbon Cask  Aged Black Watch Cream Porter
32 Ratings
Bourbon Cask  Aged Black Watch Cream PorterBourbon Cask  Aged Black Watch Cream Porter

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-03-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle with a painted label that reads "Limited Release Porter Aged In Bourbon Barrels 2003".

A thin, gleaming highlight of mahogany peeks out at the base of the glass from beneath an otherwise black body. the foamy tan head rises up full as it's poured, then gently settles to a short but solid cap. The retention is good and it maintains a 1/8" surface covering throughout most of the pint. A simple swirl of the glass brings the head back up to a 1/2" or more. Some initial, wide and crooked rings of lace add greatly to its appearance.

Notes of sweet chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and a coffee-like roastiness appear in the nose. It doesn't quite jump out at you, but it's quite pleasant and welcoming.

In the mouth it walks a fine line between crisp and creamy; always teetering but never falling to one side. The body is medium/full and the carbonation is gently restrained at maybe 2.3 or 2.4 volumes CO2/litre. As it warms it softens a bit, and slides gracefully across the tongue.

The bourbon cask aging is immediately evident at first sip with a bright note of vanilla upfront. As it warms across the palate some tropical fruit becomes apparent with cocoanut, pineapple, papaya and soft melon followed by notes of chocolate and coffee. At times it even displays an actual bourbon flavor. It finishes surprisingly dry considering the delicately balancing bitterness and amount of sweet malts present. It does leave some lingering sweet malt, however, along with a touch of wood and a light hint of drying alcohol.

Quite nice! An excellent example of how bourbon barrel aging can enhance the character of an already fine beer. It's very well done, adding just the right amount of vanilla and fruit without going overboard. Certainly worth trying!

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage

Pours a nice black color, little carbonation, small tan head, with some nice little islands. The nose is malty, bourbon, chocolate. The taste is sweet, malty, nice bourbon notes, with some nice oaky tones. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew for a 2003. Thanks Eric.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 bottle date. Pours with a thick brown head that rests on top of a black beer. Aromas of vanilla & oak & some bourbon waft from my glass. Upon the first taste I get roasted malt character, then toasted oak notes followed by vanilla & a certain buttery flavor (which, I don't think is diacetyl induced, perhaps it is oak derived). The bourbon barrel really dominates the flavor profile, the porter is not quite strong enough to stand up to it. A little less barrel age would have left this a bit more balanced. Interesting idea but the execution was a bit lacking.

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a black with a small light tan head that retains for a minute and spotty lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of anise, rich caramel, cocoa, cream, and milk sugar.
Taste is of the same aromas kicked down a slight notch.
Mouthfeel is creamy, and sugary smooth. A very enticing beer.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is almost black. I see shades of ruby though. A medium tan head is erected upon the pour and sticks around for about a minute before it becomes a thin film. Sporadic rings are left for lace. Aroma is not very strong. Some faint barrel character. A little bourbon. Milk chocolate. Pretty average though. The body of this beer is medium at best. Mouthfeel is quite smooth. The flavors are so mellow and subtle. I was looking for something a little more pronounced in this beer, but what is there is pretty nice. Lactic sweetness. Slight winey character. A little oak. And just a tad of roasted bitterness. All in all, decent, but I was expecting more from this given the style, limited availability, price and effort I put in to get it.

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Photo of ZAP
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn near pitch black...nice creamy tan head fades to little to nothing...nose is sweet cocoa, leather, some whiskey notes...body is medium to full...sits right in the mouth....

Taste is very enjoyable...cocoa beans..nice roasted flavor....some whiskey notes...easy drinking and tasty..expected more substance and higher gravity but a very well done porter...not an imperial porter by any means but a true treat to my buds...very easy drinking....better as it warms...top notch porter in my book...

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Photo of RoyalT
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark brown, almost black, with a decent tan head that left little pits on top of the body.

Smell – This is almost like a cookies-n-cream mix of dark and white chocolate with a milky, bready malt. There’s a noticeable dose of sugar in there as well, but this one is mostly creamy white/dark chocolate with maybe a hint of coffee.

Taste – This is quite interesting. A hop balance comes out at the taste, making this one well-balanced indeed. And, the chocolate flavors go way back, almost out of sight, replaced by a tangy almost light sherry flavor. It’s very good.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied with some light carbonation and very refreshing. It’s not a big hop busting porter, but it’s balanced.

Drinkability – This went down well. It’s probably off a little bit from my personal preferences, but a class act for sure that will have many fans.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent! A deep, opaque black colour with a nicely sized head of tan foam. Aromas are of bourbon, cream, vanilla, oak, deeply roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, espresso, and more! The taste is an excellent blend of oak flavors, roasted malts, coffee, cream, vanilla, and alcohol, this stuff is blended to perfection! The mouthfeel is so rich, creamy, and smooth that I could not beleive it and the drinkability is absolutely amazing. Wow, and I thought that the regular black watch porter was good!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Screen printed 22oz (650ml) classic Bomber. The obverse print is appropriately cream colored. The beer is titled “MacTarnahan’s Bourbon Cask Aged Blackwatch Cream Porter” No strength but listed as a "Limited Release Porter Aged In Bourbon Barrels 2003".

Appearance: The crown cap removal revealed a repressed gun-smoke in the neck that did not move until the beer was poured. Incredibly dark looking broth-like offering. Ebonyious body with a light brown tan head, decent at first but restrained a little later on. Nice lacing forms thanks to the glutinous ‘top-up’ pour which replenishes the head to a nice 1” thick, deep woollen covering.

Nose: Oh yes, this was most certainly aged in Bourbon Casks, it flies through in the nose, Ground Coffee and Vanilla twangs twixt freshly ground Coconut, Dark Chocolate, and some alcoholic woody odors invade the nose. Smells like a Dark Chocolate Bounty.

Taste: Very smooth, incredibly free-flowing, like a fine ground talcum powder, smooth to the touch like graphite. Coffee and Vanilla invade the tongue, why Bourbon odors fill the air. The middle is malty and alcoholic with some dark roasted coffee rounded with a fresh coconut milk whirl. The ending is dry and warm, Porter-ish and at times bold. Dry whisky malt woods and some thick viscous alcohol which are astringent, bitter and sweet all at once, they all linger in the aftertaste. Quite the beer.

Mouthfeel: Again, incredibly smooth, a PolyTetraFlouroEthylene alcoholic malt base laden with smooth Oak Bourbon traits licks the tongue from beginning to end. This has a superb mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A favorite – I could easily sink two bottles of this one; I love the smooth aged woody-alcohol feel. Scrub that, I could drink three bottles of this!

Overall: Wow, what can I say, sat at my desk supping this smooth aged marvel it accompanies listening to ‘Staring at the Sea: The Singles’ by the Cure perfectly. Both aged classics that get better with time it seems. But Black Watch is fiercely Scottish, so Bourbon seems a cheap replacement for a good Single Malt, nevertheless, Black Watch is rightly a famous, neigh infamous, Scottish Regiment – in fact Scotland’s oldest. It also had the pleasure of having a legendary British Deltic locomotive named in its honor; Deltic D9013 (Type 55 013), at the time one of only 22 of the world’s most powerful Diesel locomotives. Yes, this is an aptly name beer, and it does not disappoint. Well Worth seeking out.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz classy screen printed brown bottle.
This beer is very dark, almost pitch black except for some glimpses of mahogany as I held it to the light, lucsious creamy tan had that sticks around..nice looking beer indeed.
The aroma is of dark roasted malts ,followed by a woody whiskey aroma..then cream and liquorice.
Great taste to this beer also..sweet smooth malts, then dark fruits ( blackberry) then the taste of bourbon shows up like a ghost, then its gone and a bitter coffee taste is present..hints of vanilla..tart aftertaste..fantastic stuff.
Very nice and smooth on the tongue..could be a touch thicker.
Im my opinion a great porter from McTarnahans. I hope the takeover will not result in the great "experimental" beers seen recently.
Recommened even at $6 a bottle.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque with a retained head. The aroma and flavor mirror one another closely, making the smell and the taste synergistically inseparable. The flavor is certainly distinctive though some may not equate such distinction with desirability.

I enjoyed this beer for the quizzical invitation it delivers to travel beyond familiar territories. There is an obvious whiskey-like bent here that is either an exotic enhancement or a cumbersome intrusion, depending on the run of your personal tastes.

“Cream” suggests smooth, but Blackwatch’s texture is more piquant than smooth, not creamy at all. From my notes: “It tastes like jewelry – sharp edged, semi-precious.” A curious assessment. Some may find such luster appealing. I myself don’t wear jewelry. All of which is to say that MacTarnahan’s bourbon cask aged Blackwatch Cream Porter (a mouthful) is a refined and distinctive brew that does not appeal to my personal tastes though I’m sure others may value it highly.

Another point I simply can’t pass by is a descriptive on the bottle noting that the beverage is “enhanced by slow aging in cask barrels.” So is there another type of aging process besides “slow aging”? Might we otherwise assume the beer was enhanced by “fast aging”?

Ultimately MacTarnahan’s Blackwatch Cream Porter is a fine beer. It needs little further refinement. Just a bit of editing.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark black color. Large foamy white head. Aroma is chocolate, coffee and a touch of dark fruit. A medium to light bodied porter. Hops are slightly bitter. A very smooth tasting porter. Touches of oak and dried fruit are complemented by a bourbon-like sweetness. Perhaps a bit thin tasting for a porter, but I have been noticing this trait in a lot of porters lately, so it may just be me. A very drinkable winter warmer porter. Etched/painted beer bottle. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up while in Vegas, the 2003 limited release. Poured from a 650 ml brown bottle, front and back labels are silk-screened on in a creamy/beige colour. The body is a dense black, with mahogany highlights when held up to direct light. Thin spongy tan head that settles out to a creamy ring. The aroma is amazing, vanilla, creamy milk chocolate, burnt malt, coffee, and bourbon, with light notes of wood. Like some fancy Italian dessert. The flavour is complex and rolls along in layers, like the undulating tide of some secluded lagoon--sit back in peace and serenity and let it slowly swell and crash across you. Roasted malt and dark chocolate up front, with a sour boozy kick shortly afterwards, then sweeter milk chocolate slowly swells up towards the middle where it starts melding into notes of capuccino and light vanilla, and somewhat of a sour cherry finish. A lot going on here. Mouthfeel is a little acidic from the bourbon presence, and a bit sticky on the finish, fairly light for such intense flavours. An intense experience of aroma and flavours, but not something I could drink on a regular basis, this needs to be broken out for special occasions. A big thanks to DESTRO for recommending this to me.

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Photo of mcallister
3.55/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a nice looking porter especially considering it's age. Dark ruby with tootsie roll tones. A fully carbonated pure mocha head is large but fades quickly and leaves some lace. Some floaties are there as should be. Could have decanted a little better.

Sweet Kentucky bourbon aromas dominate with a big toasty vanilla oak and black cherry not far behind. Hints on licorice and stale coffee with an ever so slight bit of bakers chocolate squares.

This beer is still good but is past it's prime. If not for the bourbon aging it would probably be dead. Mainly bourbon with hints of chocolate and coffee, a bit of vanilla, anise, black tea, spicey qualities with an herbacious feel.

Mouthfeel is thin and somewhat dissapointing. If this beer is left on some shelves I'd definitely buy a bottle for sample or even to taste and experience with others as depending on aging I think this could be hit or miss.

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Photo of Crosling
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3


Nose of mainly vanilla, along with toffee, caramel, coffee beans, dark cherries and infused bouron.

Dry and woody, very thin body, along with notes of vanilla, chocolate and dark fruits and finishes with a lingering taste of bourbon.

This was okay.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottle found at Keg & Bottle #2. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma is ripe with bourbon, vanilla, and malts. The taste is very rich; chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. The bourbon and barrel taste comes out in the end. There is a strange sourness in the aftertaste. Overall, a great porter that just didn't store well.

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Photo of aracauna
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark black with a smallish, creamy tan head. The bourbon aging is evident in the aroma and smells like coffee with oatmeal laced with bourbon. You can taste a good bit of the wood in the flavor along with a touch of dark chocolate. I’m not sure how this would stand up on it’s own. It seems to be lacking a bit of body, but the whiskey doesn’t completely overpower this and I’m enjoying it.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color out of a 22oz bottle with a creamy, off-white head that dissipates relatively quickly. Mocha, toffee, maple, and sweet molasses on the nose. Flavor is amazingly complex. Elements of coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and of course bourbon are prevalent. Finishes very smoothly with a mocha and/or bourbon flourish, depending on the temp. Colder it finishes with the bourbon, as it warms it's more of a mocha flavor. An amazing beer from one of my favorite breweries around. Blackwatch Porter without cask-conditioning is one of the better American dark beers, and the added element of the bourbon cask is simply amazing. Hats off to Kornheuser and the gang for this winner.

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Photo of beernut7
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had been waiting anxiously to pop open this beauty since I ordered it from the West Coast. The pour is a deep mahogany with a creamy mocha head. The aroma of oak and bourbon is unmistakable with a background of nice mellow roasted malt. The body is creamy and heavy supporting an initial huge rounded complex flavor beginning with roast and chocolate notes and building to a very rounded bourbon flavor. The finish holds hints of vanilla. An absolutely excellent concoction that I cannot wait to find more of next season.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled a bomber of the 2003 bourbon barrel aged Black Watch.
Appearance: This brew pours black w/ orangish-red bricking. The head was tan & tightly bubbled. It quickly disappeared
Aroma: You can definitely smell the bourbon barrel and some vanilla.
Flavor: I tasted creamy vanilla with some roasted notes.
The body of this brew is pretty light for a porter. However, it is extremely drinkable and has a lot of nice complexity to it.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. Bottle

Appearance: This beer had a deep ebony appearance as it sat in the glass. There were some dark caramel hints around the edges if it was held up to the light. The tan head rose up quickly to three fingers, even with an easy pour. It was course, though, and disappeared quickly, leaving a rough layer of bubbles lingering on top of the brew. The lacing was patchy at best.

Smell: The bourbon definitely came through on the nose. It dominated at times, but was not overpowering. It intermingled with other aromas of cocoa, coffee, vanilla, and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel: Rather thin-bodied and watery. It was also over-carbonated, which didn't help the mouthfeel any.

Taste: Initially, the flavor was sweet chocolate, vanilla, cream and a light touch of roasted malt. Then on the finish came the bourbon flavor. It lingered into the aftertaste where it was joined by a stronger, roasted flavor. Occasionally, the bourbon overpowered the other flavors and I found this rather distracting. But there were other sips where everything balanced out well.

I had been looking forward to trying this beer for months, but it didn't quite live up to what I was expecting. While still an enjoyable brew, it was thin in both consistency and flavor. Plus, 22 ounces of over-carbonated beer made me feel bloated as hell. Not bad, but not worth the $7.99 ($6.79 with discount) that I paid for it.

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Photo of ark57
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours black with slight ruby tinges around the edges and a khaki colored head. It looks like any average porter or stout, but is much more. There is vanilla, coconut, and chocolate in the nose. It starts out sweet and creamy with some roasted malt (mostly chocolate and some coffee), and then the coconut and wood notes kick in. It finishes somewhat dry. It is lip smacking good. With the coconut and chocolate notes it sort of reminds me of a coconut pattie. Forget the candy, I would rather drink this beer.

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Photo of DESTRO
4.79/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this pours black with a small tan head. when held to the light it lightens up around the edges but remains a dark concoction. some patchy lacing here and there. the nose is pure heaven. huge coffee up front, very dessert like (chocolate cake, tiramisu), vanilla and fresh cream...simply amazing. the flavor? WOW. burnt/roasted malt, coffee rinds right off the bat. a touch metallic in the middle with vanilla, caramel and chocolate in the house. a touch sour going down the hatch with a light whiskey stab, finishing once again with a coffee rush that stays with you long after youve swallowed. lightly creamy in the mouth yet retains a crisp carbonation bite, simply awesome. this beer not only gets a full on head bang, but it also gets a full blast high volume iron maiden "hallowed be thy name" air guitar solo. glorious!

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Photo of rkhaze
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 release. Poured a real dark chocolate brown with a huge creamy tan head that dissapated rather quickly. Didn't leave a lot of lace. Aromas of chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts and an almost oaky grassiness.
Tasted of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Finished with an earthy tangy dry oakiness and some bourbon. I could certainly taste the cask but not so much the bourbon. Other bourbon aged beers I have had in the past were more upfront with the whole caramel/vanilla/bourbon flavor profile.
Creamy yet thin mouthfeel and lots of carbonation lead to a fairly drinkable beer. Different but worth a try.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle. Pours a dark brown color , slight head fizzles fast but leaves a nice lace. Reeks of french vanilla, hot cocoa. A huge vanilla taste assaults the tongue with a roasted smoked malt flavor in the background. Super smooth, creamy mouthfeel.Very easy drinking, cream porter aptly describes this brew.


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Bourbon Cask Aged Black Watch Cream Porter from Portland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 32 ratings
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